SK Knights v LG Sakers, Friday 6th January 2012, 7pm

It’s been a while since my last sporting event in Korea, over a month in fact since I watched Jeonbuk clinch the K-League Championship. I haven’t really had much of an opportunity to see anything else as not long after that game I had to go to Oman for a few days and then went straight on from there to England for a couple of weeks holiday over Christmas and New Year.

I didn’t get up to much in Oman, I rarely do. My favourite activity was probably feeding the dog that hangs around the site with a few pieces of Spam from the Korean breakfast. I think it’s a more appropriate food for dogs than for people.

He overcomes his timidness when there is tinned chopped pork shoulder.

The highlight of the trip was seeing a few wild camels wandering by the side of the road on the way to the construction site. Unfortunately one of them hadn’t been observing his kerb drill and so had ended up as what is undoubtedly the biggest item of roadkill that I’ve ever seen. I didn’t take a photo, but if there is anything left of the carcass when I go back I’ll try and get a snap next time.

Back in England it was a case of catching up with family and friends that I hadn’t seen since August. My son and my grandson both had birthdays, with the elder of the two putting a bit more effort into his celebration. I did pretty well for gigs, seeing Withered Hand, Paul McCartney and Cattle & Cane over a four day period. As I’ve only seen two bands in Korea this entire year, I was quite pleased with the scheduling.

He's less keen on Spam.

The Boro fixtures fell nicely for me as well. Tom and  I took the bus down to Cardiff where a half past seven in the morning start to the drinking meant that I remember little of our away win. We later took four points from six in the home games against Hull and Peterborough. I even managed to squeeze in a Boxing Day visit to Central Avenue for the Billingham derby between Synners and Town.

Now that's a backdrop.

Tom and I spent an afternoon at Sedgefield Races too. I suppose a meeting a few days before Christmas isn’t going to be the best attended fixture of the year, but I was surprised by how small the crowd was. I wasn’t surprised by how much money I lost though, the knack of picking a winner is something that I seem to struggle with these days.

I think the entire crowd was in this photo.

A couple of days walking in The Lakes either side of a night in Coniston got me a bit of fresh air as well as a battering in a hailstorm on the hills above Hardknott Pass. It was nice to get outside though, despite the weather.

That was taken just before the hailstorm.

So, that’s the ‘what I did on my holidays’ update out of the way. Jen is still in America visiting her folks and so after work I got the subway on my own to the Jamsil Students Gymnasium to see SK Knights play LG Sakers. I bought a ticket from a tout in the subway for eight thousand won and got myself a roll of gimbap and a bag of chestnuts for my tea. I tend not to eat quite so well when I’m by myself.

 I hadn’t seen SK Knights this season yet, but I’d watched LG Sakers at Samsung Thunders a few weeks back and had been impressed with the way they had gradually clawed back an early deficit to win 81-74.

The Nigerian centre for the Sakers in that game, Olumide Oyedeji, was no longer playing in Korea and had been replaced with the somewhat pacier American  Aaron Haynes. I noticed that he was wearing headphones as he warmed up. Sensible bloke. Maybe I’m getting old but I found the noise from the speaker system in the arena to be just below my pain threshold. I saw Mogwai in Seoul just before Christmas and fortunately I had been warned in advance to wear earplugs for their performance. Next time I’ll bring them to the basketball too.

I'm tempted to wear a pair of those at work too.

SK Knights seemed to have been through a few foreign players themselves and tonight’s starter was an American called Amal McCaskill. If Google has given me the right fella then he’s knocking on a bit at thirty-eight, but has turned out for a few NBA teams over the years.

Amal McCaskill takes on SK Knights by himself.

As the game started the place was probably about a quarter full, although with people continuing to arrive throughout the game it was probably near to half its capacity by the end.

SK looked quite effective early on with some swift passing and had six points on the board before Sakers got their first basket. It wasn’t to last though and by the end of the first quarter the visitors led by 16-12. LG continued their good form in the second quarter, increasing their advantage to 41-33 at half time.

I had been wondering which K-Popstars would be ‘entertaining’ us at half time, having been subjected to Sistar, Shinee and that old biddy who looks a bit like Tina Turner’s Mam at previous games. SK must have a smaller budget though as all we got were a few obstacle course type games, cheerleaders dishing out pizzas and a dance routine from the seven mascots. Yes, seven. We had a bloke dressed up as a hamburger, another one as an orange, one who was either a tub of ice cream or a dumpling and one who I think was meant to be a pork chop. They were joined by a giant can of Pocari Sweat, a two legged horse and someone who I presume from his hat was supposed to be a knight. Maybe Sistar might have been a better option after all.

Horse, Hamburger, Orange and Pork Chop.

SK fought back after the interval and by the end of the third quarter had turned an eight point deficit into a four point lead. They stayed ahead until a couple of minutes from the end, setting up what would be a tense finish. As the match entered its final thirty seconds SK were two up and had possession. If they scored they would win, if they missed then LG would have maybe six or seven seconds to score themselves. SK did miss their shot but the lad was fouled in the process and he put one of the free-throws away to increase the lead to 77-74. LG had six seconds to score a three-pointer to tie the game.

There's just enough space for the obligatory cheerleaders photo.

We had to sit through an incredibly long time-out before play restarted. So long in fact that the mascots put the crowd through their paces with some exercise routines. Most of the Koreans joined in, but just as I do when I’m at work and all that nonsense starts, I left them to it.

When play did get underway again LG were able to work the position for the three point shot. Aaron Haynes took it but it rolled around the rim and came back out again. SK got the rebound and it was game over. It was definitely the closest game that I’ve watched whilst being over here and the win might just have moved SK back ahead of the Sakers into seventh place.

2 Responses to “SK Knights v LG Sakers, Friday 6th January 2012, 7pm”

  1. jen Says:

    Oranges? Oranges?! That’s Krispy Kreme, THE donut brand of the South!

    Oh, and I think Insooni is maybe five years older than you, Pop Pop.

  2. pizzazz Says:

    Reference…

    Here’s a great example of just what I mean with that…

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